A video produced by the Anti-Racism Commission of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania
© Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania 2016
Our mission is to educate, advocate and build loving relationships to end racial divides and discrimination. We work within and across parishes to motivate and equip our brothers and sisters in Christ, so that we can become a true example of Christ’s beloved community.
Since 1991, General Convention has committed the Episcopal Church to address racism within our church, society and the world. We all recognize when obvious racism, discrimination or oppression occurs, but many of us are completely unaware of the subtle racism that occurs everyday all around us and how we are involved in perpetuating it. To better educate ourselves about the underlying racism in our daily lives and institutions, all lay and ordained leaders in the Episcopal Church are required to attend antiracism training. Each and every member of the church can also be involved in the effort to end the institutional racism that exists in the church. Together we can make our church a welcoming place, devoid of racism and any form of prejudice and discrimination.
Working together for justice
Each one of us can play a part in eliminating racism in the church, society and world, and that change begins with us. In order to truly love our neighbors as ourselves, we must walk in their shoes and understand how our behavior affects those around us.
Because racism has existed for centuries, many of us are completely unaware that our everyday thoughts, perceptions and actions are influenced by a history of racism in our society and church. Many people say, “But I’m not a racist!” and in many ways they are right. Most of us would never consciously do or say anything prejudicial or discriminating. Many of us, though, have experienced the embarrassment of saying something without knowing it would be offensive. We don’t realize the subtly racist attitudes that most of us learn in life simply because of where we live and what we watch on television until someone points them out to us.
So what can you do to increase your awareness of the racism around you?
Encourage your diocesan and/or provincial leadership to:
Becoming a Fully Antiracist Church
Changing our own behavior is just the beginning; creating change in our institutions is the next step. While the church is a collection of its individual members, it will not change unless we all work together to make change happen. Together we can eradicate institutional racism from our churches, seminaries and workplaces.
Becoming a fully antiracist church requires the attention and efforts of each one of us. Rigorous self-examination of our individual and collective thoughts, perceptions and actions is necessary for change. In order to reach this goal, we each must:
Once our eyes are opened to the complexities of racism in our church and society, we focus on systematic change to eliminate racism on an institutional level. We must:
Only through self-examination, awareness, acknowledgement, and true work to eliminate racism can we become a fully antiracist church, welcoming and including all equally.
Diocesan Reports on Transatlantic Slavery
In accordance with General Convention Resolution 2006-A123, dioceses are directed to document instances where the diocese has been complicit in and has benefited from the institution of Transatlantic Slavery. Several dioceses who have already begun this work share what they are already doing.
General Convention Resolution 2006-A123, passed by the 75th General Convention in Columbus, Ohio, directs dioceses to document instances where the diocese was complicit in and benefitted from the institution of Transatlantic Slavery. These actions are complex, and may be difficult to visualize. It may become an ongoing venture as you uncover your history. Several dioceses were asked to share the work they had begun to share with others.
Anti Racism Co-Chairs
The Very Rev. Deirdre Whitfield
Mr. George Vosburgh